DUI suspected in O.C. crash that killed child and 2 adults returning from Bible study

A police officer stands next to a wrecked sedan in an intersection
A child and two adults were fatally injured when a sedan crashed into a passenger van and other vehicles in Placentia. The sedan driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

A child and two adults riding in a church van were killed this week when a suspected drunk driver crashed into the van and other vehicles in Placentia, authorities said.

Several passengers on their way home from Bible study were ejected from the large white van in the crash, which occurred about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Placentia Police Department.

Authorities pronounced Alberto Vicente Lopez, 36, and Gregoria Ramirez, 65, dead at the scene.


Two children were taken to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where one of them, 10-year-old Lucero Lopez, died, Sgt. Joe Connell told the Orange County Register. Lucero was the stepdaughter of Alberto Lopez.

Police responding to a disturbance call were told a suspect inside was lighting things on fire. The suspect was arrested, and more than 100 firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Three other people with serious injuries were also transported to UCI Medical Center.

The driver of the black sedan, 24-year-old Mario Armando Paz Jr., was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, police said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.